does alcohol cause anxiety

According to statistics, around 40% of Americans suffer from anxiety disorder. 1 in 5 individuals have reported that they consume alcohol in order to cope with their anxiety. About 20% of people diagnosed with alcohol disorder also suffer from anxiety. This brings up a question that is asked by hundreds of these Americans. Does alcohol cause anxiety? Before we answer that question, we need to know exactly what anxiety actually is.

What is Anxiety Disorder?

Most people experience anxiety in their lives at some point. Anxiety is a normal response to fearful or stressful situations. Normally, the feeling of anxiety would subside after the upsetting or fearful situation has been resolved but sometimes that is not the case.

Does Alcoholism cause Anxiety or make it worse?

Many individuals may use alcohol as an unhealthy coping mechanism to reduce the symptoms of anxiety which is not a great option. Alcohol can cause new-onset anxiety or even may worsen pre-existing anxiety symptoms. In order to answer the question that is, does alcohol cause anxiety, we can safely say that consuming alcohol is an extremely unhealthy way to cope with anxiety. Alcohol does not erase the traumas or reduce the stressors that are causing anxiety.

Whether your anxiety is caused by financial stress, past trauma, or relationship issues, consuming alcohol is a temporary way to relieve anxiety which may even worsen the situation. Even if you feel that your anxiety is fading away, symptoms may still be lurking around the corner as the underlying triggers have been treated properly.

This leads us to a new question: why does alcohol cause anxiety? The simplest answer to this question is that consuming alcohol can make you feel good for a short amount of time because it gives rise to your happy hormone which is also known as serotonin. However, with the passage of time, the effects of serotonin start to wear off. Alcohol affects how your brain works. In small amounts, alcohol can increase the level of a neurotransmitter called GABA.

GABA has a relaxing effect on your brain thereby consuming alcohol can make you feel relaxed but if you drink it in large amounts then it will reduce the levels of GABA and as alcohol is a temporary solution, the underlying symptoms of anxiety start to appear leading to a rise in anxiety levels.

Why does alcohol cause anxiety attacks?

Along with subsiding levels of GABA, alcohol can cause anxiety attacks in some people in different ways:

1. Increase in dehydration: Alcohol being a diuretic makes you pass urine more than usual. This causes dehydration thereby increasing your heartbeat, and causing dizziness. Now how does alcohol use cause anxiety attacks? The answer is simple, as these symptoms are similar to the symptoms of having anxiety thereby giving rise to anxiety attacks in some people.

2. Lowering of blood sugar levels: Having low blood sugar can cause anxiety in some people. Alcohol reduces the amount of blood sugar in a person and this is the reason why most people feel anxiety or anxiety attacks in the morning if they consumed alcohol during the previous night.

3. Affecting hormones: Consuming alcohol can increase the serotonin level in a person also known as the happy hormone. As the effects of alcohol start to wear off, the serotonin level starts to decrease which can lead to a rise in the anxiety level.

does alcohol cause anxiety

How to stop alcohol-related anxiety problems?

We finally got the answer to the most asked question, which is, does alcohol cause anxiety problems? Yes, it does and there are many ways to stop these anxiety problems.

  1. Staying hydrated. Drinking lots of water during alcoholic drinks helps you reduce the dehydrating effects of alcohol.
  2. Eating something while you are having your alcoholic drink will maintain the blood-sugar level that alcohol can cause.
  3. Try consuming drinks that have the same effects but without alcohol such as alcohol-free beer which will release the same levels of serotonin but without anxiety.
  4. Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT). Therapy is also a healthy way to replace alcohol. At SDKare, our therapists are experienced and highly qualified so you may apply for a free assessment and have a detailed session with a licensed therapist that will help you cope with your anxiety problems.

Many people ask the question, does alcohol cause anxiety and even get the answer to it but they are not able to escape the alcohol addiction. In order to carefully tackle this situation, you should seek help from either a licensed physician or a therapist who would help you find the solution to your anxiety-related problems in a medically professional manner.


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